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UK debt alarm bells ring as lending rises

By Vicky Shaw

The number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers reached its highest level in nearly a year in January, Bank of England figures show.

Some 69,928 loans were approved for house purchase during the month - the highest figure seen since February 2016.

Non-mortgage lending increased by 10.3% over the previous 12 months, slightly down on a 10.6% annual increase recorded in December.

Consumer credit recorded a net £1.4bn increase during the period, compared with an average £1.6bn increase over the previous six months.

Within the £1.4bn increase, lending using personal loan and overdrafts increased by £1.1bn while credit card lending increased by £339m.

Concerns have been raised that some borrowers may be over-stretching themselves.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research said growth in consumer credit had "accelerated at a worryingly high pace".

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